• Fearless Emmy Predictions And Preferences: Movies And Miniseries
    Most of us focus on the excitement of the Drama and Comedy Series categories when watching the Emmy Awards. But this year the nominations for Movies and Miniseries and the actors who starred in them could collectively eclipse the rest of the show. Much of the credit for this goes to FX, which has thrillingly revitalized the Miniseries competition with the "Fargo" and "American Horror Story" franchises. As with my columns about the competition in the Drama Series and Comedy Series categories earlier this week, what follows are my predictions and preferences and, where called for, mention of obvious oversights ...
  • Fearless Emmy Predictions And Preferences: Comedy Series
    Yesterday I made my predictions and stated my preferences for the Drama Series categories in this year's Emmy Awards. Today I shift focus to those concerning Comedy Series. It's worth noting that two of the early Comedy wins during last season's Emmy telecast set the tone for the consistently surprising awards that would follow: Merritt Wever of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Tony Hale of HBO's "Veep" for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Count on the comedy categories to liven things up again this year, especially if AMC's "Breaking Bad" dominates ...
  • Fearless Emmy Predictions And Preferences: Drama Series
    Next week's Emmy Awards already feel like something of a non-event, largely because they are taking place on the last Monday of August during a week when people are thinking about anything and everything other than television. But there it is -- the annual celebration and promotion of the very best that television offers -- and here are my predictions and preferences for the Drama Series categories. Those for the Comedy Series categories will follow tomorrow. As always, I'll make note of the series and performers who weren't nominated but should have been as I address each area.
  • Premature Prognostication About The Fall Freshmen On Fox And The CW
    Last week I offered thoughts and observations on new series set to debut this fall on ABC, CBS and NBC. Here's a quick take on the freshmen shows coming to Fox and The CW. Fall pilots have been available to journalists and advertisers since May or June, but may not be officially reviewed without their networks' approval because many of them will have creative or technical changes. After working with these new shows for almost three months, it seems reasonable to begin offering carefully considered opinions about them, with the responsible caveat that these are not official final reviews.
  • TNT's 'Dallas' Faces Its Greatest Cliffhanger
    "Dallas" -- the series with the most exciting theme song in the history of television -- resumes its third season tonight after a prolonged hiatus balancing more cliffhangers than I can recall over the five decades that this plot-driven prime-time soap has been a part of our lives (including regularly scheduled episodes in the '70s, '80s and '90s; reunion movies in the '90s; a reunion special in the 2000s, and of course this new series -- or more accurately, this continuation of the old -- that began in 2012).
  • Premature Prognostication About The Fall Freshmen on ABC, CBS and NBC
    Pilots or first cuts of premiere episodes of the 2014-15 broadcast freshman class have been available to journalists, advertisers and others since May or June. Soon, the networks will begin making final "review-ready" episodes available to critics, or they will send out notification that the pilots they distributed months ago are okay to use as official review copies. But after living and working with these new shows for almost three months it doesn't seem unreasonable to begin offering carefully considered opinions about the fall freshmen, with the responsible caveat that these are not official reviews or the final word on ...
  • 'The Patty Duke Show' Reminds Us Of Changes In The Media Landscape
    Once upon a time, before social media expanded communication to such a degree that it is now diluted on the local level, a well-written, smartly reasoned letter to the editor with a well-argued point of view could bring about changes in local policies, politics and practices of every stripe. Entire communities were brought together daily in one place by one or two affordable publications. Unlike social media today, there was no place for knee-jerk responses to anything in that valuable real estate. All of this came to mind while watching "Cathy, the Rebel," an episode of the classic '60s sitcom ...
  • Naked Summer, Part 2: Nudity On The Rise In Scripted Programming
    As I was writing Monday's column about VH1's "Dating Naked" and the unprecedented amount of bare skin on display in that series and several other recent basic cable reality efforts, it occurred to me that nudity is also on the rise this summer in scripted basic cable programs. Even a cursory viewing of current series has made clear that fresh displays of skin are everywhere. I'm used to nudity on pay cable programs and shows on streaming services -- aren't we all? Still, as far as nudity goes, basic cable is suddenly busting out all over.
  • A Fond Farewell To Robin Williams
    Many actors have found great success in both film and television, but few have accomplished more in both than Robin Williams. The coverage of his shocking death by film and television journalists has straddled both media in a way that is at the very least uncommon. I might have years added to my life if I were given back all the time I spent enjoying Williams' work. But I don't think I would make the trade. Williams' contributions to all of our lives were outstanding in that capacity. I can't imagine the last 40 years without him in them.
  • Naked Summer: VH1's Frisky Flesh Fest 'Dating Naked'
    VH1's "Dating Naked" is currently at the forefront of the new wave of super-naked TV. TLC's "Buying Naked" and Discovery's "Naked and Afraid" got there first, but the nudity in both is supposedly not the focal point -- even if it does prompt people to tune in, and perhaps turn on. "Dating Naked" is something else altogether. It takes this new adventure in TV exposure to an entirely different plateau because it's all about nudity as a component of sexual attraction.
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